Headphone static and distorted audio

Feb 3, 2019

I'm having the following issue recently and ran out of ideas. Any help would be appreciated.

My PC setup is the following:

CPU: Intel Core i5 4460
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85M-D3H
Ram: 8 GB Kingston Hyper X
SSD/HDD: Crucial CT250BX and a Seagate ST1000VX000
GPU: Gigabyte GV-R929OC-4GD R9 290 Windforce OC
PSU: FSP Hexa+ 600W
Chassis: Fractal Design R4
OS: Windows 10 64 bit

When I'm playing games on my PC for 5-20 minutes my headset randomly starts playing static noises and my microphone starts shifting the pitch of my speech up. It gets worse and worse, in the end it's pretty much incomprehensible what I was saying. The only way to fix it is to tab out of the game and wait for a while but if I continue playing again it can return.

Usually the problem appears while I'm playing Payday 2, War Thunder or World of Tanks, but it happened once while playing through Assault on Dark Athena too so I can't fault 1 game for the issue. Sometimes I can play for days without encountering the issue, then there are periods when it appears almost daily.

So far I've tried the following to find the cause of the problem:

1. I've tried multiple soundard drivers.
2. I've tried using my headset without the volume control box.
3. I've tried twisting and moving the cable of the headset to see if the cable was broken.
4. I've tried plugging the headset into the front audio panel.
5. I've tried putting the fan speed on my CPU and GPU to 100% to see if that gets randomly picked up by the headset.
6. Once I noticed the static sound in the headset, I checked in Audacity and I had a high pitched sound again. I've quickly plugged in the mic into my phone and started recording, then back into my PC for a third recording.

The result was the following:

- The first recording on the PC was really high pitched and barely comprehensible
- The recording on my phone was normal without any pitch shifting
- The second recording on the PC after the mobile recording had the high pitch again, but it was slightly lower.

The only other thing I suspected was that the soundcard was somehow overheating however I have my doubts with that. I've cleaned out the PC case in mid December and checked it again once I've encountered the problem for the first time in January. There was barely any dust in there but gave it some compressed air just in case. Couldn't see any damage on the soundcard chip on the mobo. No other component is overheating. My CPU is around 60-65 °C and my GPU is around 80-85 °C under load when I'm playing. The room temperature is between 16-22 °C. I also have a side fan pushing fresh air onto the GPU and the soundcard chip and I have a good airflow in the case with 1 intake fan on the front, 1 on the side and 1 exhaust fan in the back + the PSU fan is sucking out air too.

I had this setup for over 4 years now and I clean the case out regularly and never had issues with overheating or with the soundcard before.


Am I to understand you're on the HyperX Cloud I headset or the II headset? If you're dealing with the (II) that has the inline sound card that is driven by USB. The (I) is the one that is driven by analog connectors meaning you're using the sound card on the first revision and not on the USB driven headset.

Might want to pass on your full system's specs like so:

Moved thread from Components to Home Audio.
Feb 3, 2019

I'm using the HyperX Cloud I with the 3.5 mm jacks of it plugged into the cable extension with the in-line volume control and a mute button and that extension's jacks are plugged into the back of my motherboard.

I've edited my original post with the complete PC setup.